France sends England packing

2011-10-08 19:25

The French team showed yesterday they have the ability to beat any side on any day when they knocked out England in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals at Eden Park.

France, who won the tie 19-12, will face Wales in the semifinals at the same venue on Saturday.

Wales earned their semifinal berth with a 22-10 win over Ireland in a last eight clash at Wellington, also yesterday.

The English and French sides have been struggling with their form at the World Cup.

France even lost to Tonga during the pool stages of the competition.

England and France had their coaches and players in the news this week for all the wrong reasons, but it was the French who weathered the storm to come out tops yesterday.

The French triumphed with their traditional flair and unstructured rugby. They were particularly impressive with their physicality at the breakdowns.

French captain, Thierry Dusautoir, says there is a big difference between the French side of last week and the one that pitched up yesterday.

“We always knew that we had it within ourselves to beat England. We just had to believe in ourselves and get our minds right for the game,” said Dusautoir.

Said a dejected England coach Martin Johnson: “They (the French) were clinical. We had to chase the game and in the end it was just too much for us. It is very disappointing. But they deserved to win.”

Wales put South Africa’s win over them in Pool D into perspective when they beat Ireland.

The Springboks just managed to beat Wales 17-16 in their opening game of the tournament, while Ireland caused the shock of the tournament when they beat Australia in their first pool game.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said the victory was a major boost for his side’s confidence for the semis.

It was a match of high intensity and plenty of skill, but in the end it was the massive Welsh defensive effort that swung the game in their favour.

Said Gatland: “It was a very tough pool that we played in, and to come out of it with a win today over Ireland puts us into a good frame of mind for the semifinals. The first loss to South Africa in our first Pool D match could have gone either way and thereafter we just built momentum. Ireland beat Australia so it gives us a good indication of where we are at the moment.”

“I am really proud of the boys’ performance today. We are now looking forward to prepare for the semis with confidence,” he said after the match.

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